Beef carpaccio and tuna tataki on the all-day menu at Joey Kitchen.

Another week, another restaurant opening at U Village’s new expansion—and this one’s a looker. Though not as local as Liam’s or as kid-friendly as Eureka!, Joey Kitchen fills a void at the outdoor mall for grown-up, modern American food (and booze) with international influence, like the Ram’s sophisticated cousin from out of town.

The Vancouver-based chain is helmed by Iron Chef Japan alum, executive chef Chris Mills. And though there are locations both in Bellevue and at Southcenter—it’s clearly an eatery designed to go with shopping—this is the first in the heart of Seattle. Joey’s team has taken some liberties with this branch: its open floor plan is airy and bright in a way other locations aren’t, and it will actually serve as the American flagship and test kitchen, serving and perfecting new menu items (like a duck-and-chicken clubhouse and tuna tataki) before they’re rolled out to a larger audience. This is also the first location to have its own sushi bar—Mills loves to travel and the menu reflects his passion for global flavors.

Joey Kitchen opens Monday, December 9, at 4, and will be open approximately 11-midnight daily thereafter. Here are 5 reasons you may want to check it out on your next holiday shopping excursion:

We love an indoor/outdoor patio. It’s awfully trite, but Seattle restaurants do year-round patios remarkably well—and Joey’s is a lovely specimen, with more than 60 seats, the same wood furniture and leather booths as inside, and heaters built into the roof, which features a retractable canvas to let the sun shine in come July. A roll-up door at the front of the restaurant also opens, as does the wall of windows connecting the dining room to the patio. In nice weather, the whole place will feel like eating al fresco.

Speaking of summer—there’s slushies. Adult slushies, with booze. Sure, there’s a new program of wines on tap and a well-stocked bar and bartenders that will happily make you something more grown-up, like a Negroni. But there’s also a selection of “super drinks,” basics like gin and tonic or vodka soda topped with fruity slushy straight from the machine. When you’re drinking in the middle of the day at a mall just moments from the university, this seems appropriate.

Order the 500 without reading the description. Named after the calorie count, here’s what the menu says about this salad: “organic quinoa, barley, plenty of raw vegetables, watermelon radish, almonds, mint, parsley, avocado.” To my inner glutton, very little about that sounds appetizing. But you guys, I’m here to tell you that this low-calorie salad is actually really good. Shockingly good. It’s a delightful play on textures and gorgeous colors, and there’s enough protein from the nuts and quinoa that you feel full after. And hey, if you’re still hungry, go ahead and order dessert (or better yet, head next door to the new Molly Moon’s, which is now also open, and get a scoop of the hot buttered rum ice cream). 

It can be a sports bar, but it doesn’t have to be. It would be silly for a place of this size and locale to open a bar where sports fans aren’t welcome on game days. But to be discreet about it, the four mega flat-screen TVs that rim the bar were built to disappear into the ceiling, to the point where you can’t even tell they’re there. A few other screens line the non-windowed walls, but those too are happy to go dark. Staff will turn on the game (or maybe your favorite soap?) when requested, but those TVs won’t just blare at you unnecessarily.

There’s just one little problem. A Canadian restaurant that doesn’t serve poutine? Sacrilege! But they do take customer feedback seriously, so start requesting that gravy.

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